Arriving home was in itself a healing process. Once I was inside my house the relief washed over me like a tide going out – I was on dry land again, secure within its familiar walls.
the houses at the town end of Worship Street were just as beautiful as the others…they had fanlights over their front doors, white doorsteps snowily scrubbed, beautifully spaced windows kept scrupulously clean and shining, and an air of contented solid comfort that was very reassuring. They did not look like houses in which anything could go very wrong. To pass them was to think of shining beeswax floors, pots of jelly on a scrubbed shelf and a walled garden behind the house where nectarines grew on the south wall.
The key turned sweetly in the lock. That was the kind of thing one remembered about a house: not the size of the rooms or the colour of the walls, but the feel of doorhandles and light-switches, the shape and texture of the bannister-rail under one’s palm; minute, tactual intimacies, whose resumption was the essence of coming home.
The floor was well-worn red brick, and on the wide hearth burnt a fire of logs, between two attractive chimney-corners tucked away in the wall, well out of any suspicion of draught. A couple of high-backed settles, facing each other on either side of the fire, gave further sitting accommodation for the sociably disposed. In the middle of the room stood a long table of plain boards placed on trestles, with benches down each side. At one end of it, where an arm-chair stood pushed back, were spread the remains of Badger’s plain but simple supper. Rows of spotless plates winked from the shelves of the dresser at the far end of the room, and from rafters overhead hung hams, bundles of dried herbs, nets of onions and baskets of eggs.
From Margaret Forster ‘My life in houses’; Elizabeth Goudge ‘The Dean’s Watch’; Jan Struther ‘Mrs Miniver’; Kenneth Graham ‘The Wind in the Willows’
I had a wonderful time on holiday but it’s good to be home and facing a familiar routine. More with Forster, Grahame and Goudge than Struther on this one. What about you?